Pedals offer a system that enables you to control the function and modification of sound that is produced from piano. The basic idea of pedals is to add richness to the sound or dampen it according to the requirement of a musical piece. Pianists make use of these pedals in order to add dynamics to their performance and it makes playing this instrument actually more interesting. Though proper use of pedals is an art that pianists can learn over time and with practice only but once you earn a good grasp on using these pedals intelligently, you will be able to make your performance even more soulful.
Digital Piano& Pedals:
Users of digital piano often underestimate the power of using pedals. Serious pianists who have actually experienced an acoustic piano understand the importance of using the piano pedals well. Though many of the buyers usually do not even take in to account pedals when they are buying a digital piano. But pedals are quite important for an authentic piano playing experience.
Common Digital Piano Pedals:
1. Volume Pedal:
Digital pianos commonly include volume pedals. The purpose and performance of these pedals with a digital piano is similar to what they offer with an acoustic one. Most of the digital pianos include this pedal plugged-in to the system. As you use this pedal, a signal is sent to the internal system of your piano telling it whether you want to raise or lower the sound volume.
Apart from the basic volume control pedal, the basic three types of pedals that are found on a grand piano are usually also appointed with a digital piano. Though you may find some instruments with these triple pedals but some may have only two or even less.
2. Una Corda Pedal:
This one is another basic pedal that is included in most of the digital pianos and is often termed as the soft pedal. As you can identify with the name that this piano pedal is used for making sound appear softer but at the same time it makes sound appear to be more distant. When we talk about grand pianos; as you strike a key, three hammers strike strings to produce sound. The function of this pedal is to create an effect that allows only two of the three hammers to strike thus making sound much softer than it is otherwise.
In case of a digital piano, this una corda pedal performs a similar function but the affect is created with the aid of a switch. This pedal with a digital piano can also modify sound of instruments other than piano such as guitar, harmonica and others. Thus making sound more authentic. Moreover it also performs modulation function and controls the effects like pitch, vibratos, speed and other effects associated with the sound produced.
3. Sustain Pedal:
Also termed as the Forte pedal or damper pedal. Usually this one is located towards the right side of the pedals in a grand piano. Most commonly used sustain pedal is a loud pedal and is truly the soul of playing piano. This piano sustains the sound by removing dampers from strings and thus allowing them to vibrate freely till the pedal is kept pressed. Thus all the notes will continuously played until the vibration stops on its own or you release the sustain pedal. This pedal can create complex connections such as legato passages with connected notes and is used to add richness to tone of piano.
On the other hand, digital pianos actually doesn’t have any strings, dampers and vibration and thus sustain pedal with a digital piano is designed to create an effect as close to the one that is found with any real piano. Though the sustain effect with a digital piano would not be as interesting as with a real one but this switch operated pedal would support a similar effect. Most of the digital pianos include this pedal.
Half Pedaling: Half pedaling involves pressing down of the sustain pedal only partially so that the dampers would only slightly touch the strings and thus would give you an impressive variation with sound. This effect is usually only used by professional advance level piano players and this effect works brilliantly well with higher sound tones. Many of the modern digital pianos also include half pedaling effect.
The term Sostenuto also means sustain but this one is different from the sustain pedal that we described earlier. This center pedal on a grand piano is actually a tone sustaining pedal that is designed to sustain only those notes that a pianists choose to sustain. This means that dampers of only those notes/keys would be sustained/hold that have been pressed while the pedal is pressed. It wouldn’t sustain other notes. This pedal is not commonly used and found with all the digital pianos and many of the pianists doesn’t actually need this pedal.
Even though if you own a digital piano and not a real grand piano, it is still important for you to understand the functionality and use of these pedals so that you can improve your performance by adding more flavor in the form of richness and expression to it. Understand the role of pedals and learn on how you can use them for controlling your performance and making it more versatile so that it appears like you are playing on a real instrument. Apart from these basic pedals, you can add other pedals to your digital piano too. These pedals are additional accessories that you can buy, install and use at a later stage.